The Villa Decius Association was the operator of the ICORN residency program in Krakow in 2011-2018. Currently, the program is implemented by the Villa Decius Institute for Culture.
The International Cities of Refuge Network is dedicated to the protection of prominent intellectuals by building the “writer in residence” programme in the cities that belong to the network. The organization also facilitates contacts and cooperation between the cities comprising the network, festival directors and writers in close cooperation with the European Union and the international PEN Club. The network has existed since 2005 and today it consists in over 40 cities that offer a safe haven to writers, among them Barcelona, Stockholm, Oslo, Brussels, Frankfurt, Palma de Mallorca and Mexico City. The participation in the network is by invitation only.
In recent times, international opinion appreciated the temporary stay in Kraków of the Russian writer Marie Amelie, which was organised at short notice. In 2012, Kraków also hosted Kareem Amer, the first Egyptian blogger imprisoned for his writings. Kareem Amer was sentenced to four years in prison for offending Islam and spreading false information about President Mubarak. He stayed at Villa Decius for almost a year.
Kraków was the first city in Central and Eastern Europe to be invited to join the network by the President of ICORN, Helge Lunde, on the strength of its history, literary tradition and potential.. The Resolution concerning the joining of the Network was undertaken by Kraków councillors on 25 May 2011, at the request of the Mayor of Kraków, Mr Jacek Majchrowski